I love to read the bee catching stories. So i thought some Aussie specific would be cool. :-D
Registered for swarm removals about a week ago and had 4 calls this week all for colonies. 2 i collected, 1 i think Ozbuzz will do and the other I have encouraged the guy to leave em where they are (too high, hard etc).
Last weeks (our first) was easy...the wife and i grabbed the possum box out of the tree, took it home and transfered them into the new hive.
this weeks i would have thought would be easier...its a 50L tub upside down, it has 20mm hole in the bees use ast the entrance. We tipped it up, looked in and its chokkas. the bees are quite small and very very calm. Moved the tub onto a sheet of ply and screwed it on, in the trailer and away we go...20min tops.
Got home and moved them into the yard and i can honey coming out everywhere. so i lifted it up and the whole hive has shaken loose onto the ply....arrggghhh...i lift the tub to try and get it over the hive (which i I have whacked in a frame of honey/brood from last weeks feral) and boom the tub shattered (gone brittle from the uv) and all the remaining bees hit the dirt...there is 60 000 bees at my feet...the first thing i see is the queen (so exciting!) i pick her up and put her in the hive and just like the docos all of the bees start walking in to the hive after her...leaving me with the 3 hour job of cleaning up the comb and extracting the honey (dark honey and not really all that nice :( ). The bees are quite small and the queen was a really rich brown colour.
Some lessons learned. I need to work out how to tackle tubs (better to systematically work them than wait for them to crumble), to realise that the one that look hard will be easy and the easy looking ones will be hard and to charge more for established hive removals! I am a very very lucky bloke because my wife is into all of the same stuff as me; bees, dirt bikes, fishing, keeping chooks n ducks!
Oh and while i was out there all day i robbed a few frame from my fav hive and now i have no spare frames - arghhh - what a day! Wait and see what next weekend brings...not sure what i will charge to collect hives/swarms on grand final weekend, but its gonne be heaps!
Got this pic of what i think is a queen cell, its half way up the comb though (happy to be corrected)